The Barclays Premier League 2013/14 season has been tipped to be the most exciting season of the Premier League era and the most important factor which created this anticipation was without a doubt the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
For just over two decades Sir Alex dominated England with Manchester United and prior to his time at the Old Trafford club he also conquered Scotland seeing off competition from the Old Firm sides Celtic and Rangers.
Along with Ferguson's successes in league football he also boasted an excellent record in European and cup football by winning masses of silverware. The game has lost the greatest manager of all-time and one of the most controversial characters in the world of football so let us pay tribute to what he has done for the beautiful game.
The most obvious impact which Ferguson has made to football is through his amazing trophy haul. During his time in management Ferguson won an amazing 49 major trophies which are as follows:
13 – Premier League titles
5 – FA Cups
2 – Champions League trophies
2 – European Cup Winners’ Cups
10 – Community Shields
3 – Scottish Premier Division titles
1 – Scottish First Division title
4 – Scottish Cups
1 – Scottish League Cup
4 – English League Cups
2 – European Super Cups
2 – Intercontinental/ World Club Cup trophies
As astonishing as the trophy haul is the most impressive aspect is the manner in which Ferguson acquired the silverware.
Ferguson won his first trophy whilst managing at St. Mirren. During his 4 year stay at St. Mirren, Ferguson transformed a bottom half Second Division team into a First Division championship winning team.
Ferguson's next footballing miracle was performed whilst he was manager of Aberdeen when he broke the stranglehold of the Old Firm sides by winning the league in the 1979/80 season.
He went on to win the league a further 2 times as well as winning the Scottish Cup 4 times and the Scottish League Cup once. However his greatest success as manager of Aberdeen was undoubtedly beating Real Madrid to win the European Cup Winners Cup in the 1982/83 season. Before ending his time at Aberdeen Ferguson signed off by winning the European Super Cup.
The final destination in Ferguson's illustrious career was Old Trafford and his main goal was to 'knock Liverpool off their perch' and that he did.
It was a 26 and a half year reign littered with iconic images most of which involved the winning on trophies. Whilst managing Manchester United he won 13 Premier League trophies, 10 Community Shields, 5 F.A. Cups, 4 League Cups, 2 Champions League trophies, 1 European Cup Winners Cup, a European Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and a World Club Cup.
Also who can ever forget the 1999 Champions League Final or any of the countless other spine-tingling moments brought to us by this great man.
One of the key features of Ferguson's managerial style was his desire to give chances to young players. Players such as Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, Butt and the Neville brothers all graced the biggest stages in world football because of Sir Alex.
In a more modern context players such as Evans, Welbeck and Cleverley were all brought through the ranks by Fergie. Many other clubs have attempted to emulate the production of the young talent, however none have ever enjoyed the same success as Ferguson did at United.
Additionally, the strong leadership which Sir Alex displayed was a key component in allowing him to enjoy so much success as a manger. He was a fierce and sometimes intimidating figure especially to those who crossed him.
Players such as Jaap Stam and David Beckham were swiftly shown the exit door after challenging the boss. However, it was not only players that felt the wraft of Fergie many managers fell victim to his mind games. Ferguson's way with words famously sparked rants from the likes of Kevin Keegan, Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger and many, many more.
Above all the greatest tribute that we can pay to Sir Alex is by reviewing his everlasting legacy. Every player in the Manchester United first team was hand picked by Sir Alex and in addition to that so was the new manager David Moyes.
Furthermore, Manchester United Football Club is Sir Alex Ferguson's legacy. He shaped and moulded the Manchester United into the biggest club in the world. We have never seen one man influence and change one club and in turn the entire landscape of football on such an enormous scale and I severely doubt we will ever see his likes again.
Only one thing is for sure football will never be the same again.
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